"My pitch is very simple, I'm Theresa May and I believe I'm the best person to be Prime Minister"
In an election one doesn't always get the option of voting for their primary candidate, for me that's been the case here. Originally I had supported Michael Gove and then Andrea Leadsom for leadership of the Conservative party but on June 8th we're expected to choose between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Whatever you think of the two personally, the choice of who offers better governance couldn't be clearer.
The most notable part of Jeremy Corbyn's "leadership" has been his support for the outrageous and policies of the far left. He supports the unilateral disarmament of British nuclear weapons, while supporting the right of Iran to have its own unrestricted nuclear program. He's had an industrial policy to nationalize the mining of coal but not to burn coal, and supports self-determination for the people of Palestine but not for the people of the Falklands or Northern Ireland. Compare that with the record of Theresa May, as Home Secretary she presided over the lowest crime rate in our history, opened an inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster, stopped the extradition of Gary McKinnon, tackled modern slavery and had Abu Qatada deported.
Who ever wins this election will set the tone for the largest constitutional change in my life time. After six years of the Conservatives we're in a strong position in the Brexit negotiations, the last Labour government left us spiraling into the deepest recession in our history, worse off than any other G20 nation according to the IMF. Yet we've ended 2016 as the fastest growing major economy in the world even (with a deficit cut by two-thirds) despite the forecast recession made by Mark Carney and the Treasury. Manufacturing did better than expected and exports (especially non-EU exports) are increasing, house prices are robust and forecasts by major banks have been regularly revised as far from a Brexit cliff edge, we're in the midst of a Brexit boom.
Tax revenues are higher than expected and investments from Soft bank, GlaxoSmithKline, Sieman, Nissan and Google and others continue to be made. Amid calls for a watered down "soft Brexit" by the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Nationalists and the Green Party, Theresa May in her 12-point plan chose not to leave the house just to sit on the door step but instead pursue an amicable divorce in the interest of both the European Union and the United Kingdom, and so far she hasn't put a foot wrong in her approach.
Her commitment to the referendum result, to leave the single market allows us to deregulate businesses across the country and her promise to leave parts of the customs union positions the trade department to sign our own trade deals for the first time in almost 45 years. As opposed to Jeremy Corbyn who wanted to trigger Article 50 on June 24th without a plan to implement, Theresa May's path to drawing out the process and seeking stability is also commendable.
She took office at a volatile time of great uncertainty yet by January FTSE100 was at a record high and British stocks were the best performing in Europe. Retail spending had surged upward, consumer borrowing has increased, living standards at their highest returning to pre-crash levels, wages are growing faster than food prices (at least before the referendum result), the employment figures continue to reach an all time high and despite widely held expectation in the final quarter of 2016 foreign direct investment rose to its highest level since 2014.
Of course the Cameron-May government is far short of perfect. There are many things that I don't support, the bedroom tax, the Snooper's charters, the energy caps, the workers on company boards, the selling of UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia and their own foreign military escapade: the intervention in Libya to name but a few. But what's the realistic alternative to a Conservative majority? Some odd coalition between the far left, the nationalists in Scotland and the Liberal Democrats.
All three of which would want to raise taxes, public spending and the deficit. The last SNP budget propped up by the Green party made Scotland the most taxed nation in the UK, with those in the 40 per cent bracket paying £400 more than their counter parts in England and Wales. Labour with a self described "Marxist" chancellor, wants to borrow half a trillion pounds, raise the top rate of income tax and scrap the tax break for private education, making it more difficult for working class people to get a good education (as well as eight other planed tax hikes). Whereas the Liberal Democrats still fishing in the 48 per cent, would "raise taxes" by putting a penny on the basic rate and are seeking to keep us under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice with the four inseparable freedoms of the single market, forever giving up our ability to lower VAT or scrap European regulation.
On the up-and-up, both polling and meta-analytical data (which averages polling over a space of time) gives Theresa May a substantially strong lead, a possible 100 seat majority. But every vote counts in this election, so to paraphrase the late president 'Don't boo Labour, vote Conservative!'